How to Write in a Conversational Tone
Your Language teacher in high school probably taught you how to write in a formal tone. Well, so did mine. The conversational tone has become the language of business. If you want your audience to quickly click through your emails or read your post, you have to break some grammar rules and make your writing conversational. People get pretty busy and wouldn’t have time to read formal text with jargon that will preoccupy their brain to decipher what your message is all about. So, to get them to read your message, it must be communicated in a simple, friendly, and conversational manner. In this post, we’ll talk about everything you need to know about conversational tone and how to achieve it in your articles, emails, and website.
1. Conversational tone meaning and definition.
A conversational tone in writing, whether simple text or any other paper, makes it feel like a one-one conversation between you and your readers. It makes your writing sound like a conversation rather than mere information. This type of writing style allows you to address your readers directly and disseminate any message to your audience in a simple, fluid, and concise manner. A conversational tone gives your writing a more approachable and friendlier feel. This has made conversational tone the preferred business language. Compared to a formal writing tone, which is impersonal, a conversational writing tone sounds more personal, thus making your readers feel involved in your writing. If you’re copywriting or writing for email marketing, a conversational style can help you connect with your readers while increasing
2. How is conversational writing different from formal writing?
This is a puzzle you might have faced multiple times in your life. If you are a full-fledged writer, the issue of which writing style to use must have left you perplexed. Note that no particular style of writing is better than the other. They are all important depending on the context. This requires the writer to carefully choose which style best suits your purpose and context.
In a conversational writing style, you would try to be approachable and friendly to your reader, making the material you’re presenting more credible, less forced, and easily understood by your audience. This writing style will help you address your audience directly, ask rhetorical questions and engage your readers to the text. No matter how complex a topic may seem, the conversational tone presents it in concise and simple language. The content in the
conversational style of writing is intermix with contractions, fancy vocabulary, and similar to the way we talk naturally. The conversational style is generally written using personal pronouns like “you, I, and we” Using this tone may even require you to be sentimental in your content by adding numerous stories. On the other hand, formal writing will require you to appear neutral to the topic and use a more professional approach because you do not know your audience at a personal level. This style of writing is generally written using the third person. The topics in formal writing are usually complex, so it’s best you use concise and simple sentences, avoiding fancy vocabulary. If you want to write formally, quit using emotive punctuations such as exclamation marks unless you’re citing another material. No need to be sentimental in formal writing.
The above gives a brief overview of how both writing styles differ but let’s take a deeper look into their differences.
- Sentence length: conversational writing style uses short and concise sentences, whereas formal writing style tends to be more complex and uses lengthy sentences.
- Usage of pronouns: you can use any type of pronoun when using the conversational writing style. While only the third person is used when writing in a formal tone.
- Tone: formal writing tone is serious and official, doesn’t offer personal opinions whereas conversational tone is friendly, writer’s emotions can be detected.
- Contractions: when you write using the conversational style, it is ok to use contractions like can’t instead of cannot, but a formal writing style will not tolerate the use of contractions.
- Language: you need to use hyper fluent vocabulary eluding the usage of slang to show your audience how informed you are on the subject matter when writing in a formal tone, but you can use slang, and simple language when writing in a conversational tone.
Which style you go for depends on the platform they are being used for. Conversational writing helps connect you, the writer, to your audience better. It is appropriate to use the conversational style of writing in the case of articles, blogs, marketing emails, or websites. On the other hand, the formal writing style is applied when writing an academic project (research papers, essays, etc.), job applications (resume and cover letters), or some technical information like the user’s manual.
3. Why conversational writing style is important
Conversational writing has become the language of business and undoubtedly the language of the internet.
Here are some of the benefits of using a conversational tone in your writing.
· It’s easier to understand. A conversational tone conveys your message better to your readers and email recipients because it is written in simple and everyday language.
· It builds an immediate bond with your readers. A conversational tone is important because it makes your audience relate to you.
· Clarity. Conversational writing focuses on the content of the message you want to communicate and less on how you should write the message.
· Conversational writing is also important because it uses short, concise sentences. Using concise and simple sentences triggers your audience to keep reading. It eases their understanding of the message as they don’t have to go about trying to decipher what you have written.
· It identifies you with your audience. This is true, especially for websites that encourage feedback.
You’ll score more points if your readers feel that they have your attention.
4. Do’s and Don’ts of writing with a conversational tone
Your goal when writing in a conversational tone should be to develop a bond with your readers and encourage them to come back for more. For many topics, a formal tone would rather drive your readers away instead of pulling them. A conversational tone is meant to address your audience directly; if you want your readers to be enthusiastic about your content and come back for more, bear these do’s in mind.
· Remember to always address your readers as individuals. Make them feel you’re talking to them directly.
· Stick to the first- and second-person pronoun (i.e., I and you).
· Make sure to include questions in your writing. If you can successfully put forth questions as you write to engage your readers, then you’re sure of having a mastery of arts.
· Include stories in your writing that are related to the topic.
· Write in a grammatically correct way but always keep your language simple; use short sentences to keep your readers reading your articles or blogs.
· Use appropriate humor, making sure you don’t make your readers feel insulted.
· You can break some rules like using conjunctions at the beginning of the sentence but use your punctuations rightly.
· Use contractions. Contractions make your writing sound natural and give your reader the feeling you’re conversing with them and not informing them.
· Keep it simple and concise. Have you ever come across a post that makes you visit the dictionary every minute? Use everyday language when writing in a conversational tone. Avoid the jargon.
· Use humor: if you’ve got a good sense of humor as a writer, use it.
To write in a conversational tone doesn’t mean you write exactly the same way you talk. In order to maintain professionalism in conversational writing, you should avoid the following:
· Your sentences should not be fragmented or littered with bad grammar.
· Though your writing is conversational, it doesn’t mean you have to write exactly the same way you talk. Take, for instance, “Yeah, sure bro, I think, er, we can, er, go the park this weekend” well, this may sound good if it was actually spoken, but in writing, no, it doesn’t. But it could better be written this way “Yes, for sure. I believe this weekend will be great” you will agree with me that the second statement is more fluent to read than the first though it is still conversational.
· Don’t write in SMS language (e.g., LOL). It’s way too casual.
· Don’t break all the rules. A conversational tone is far from sloppy writing; you must follow basic grammar, punctuation rules, capitalization, and stick to the guidelines.
· Don’t use long sentences. Long sentences will require your audience to follow up closely, and it also makes your writing too formal than conversational. If there is a shorter way to write, then use it. But if it’s impossible to split that long sentence, use punctuations like commas, semicolons to ease reading.
· Rambling content.
· Don’t use jargon.
5. Tips on how to write in a conversational tone
Writing in a conversational tone is a lot tighter than talking. So, it doesn’t mean your conversational text should sound like you’re talking. Instead, edit your text, so it doesn’t sound like formal writing. If it sounds like formal writing, rewrite it to sound conversational. Here are some important tips you should consider when writing conversationally.
· Quit addressing your reader as a crowd
The first tip to make your writing sound conversational is to think about your audience and imagine you are writing to a single reader and not a crowd. Imagine you writing an email to a list of 1 million subscribers; you probably sound like, “Hi everyone! Thank you all for donating to our charity; you can still donate here”. Well, it sounds like you’re writing to a crowd, right? That phrase “hi everyone” doesn’t sound personal. A conversational tone has to make your reader feel like you’re addressing them personally. You could rather say “Hi, thank you for donating to our charity. If you haven’t donated, you can still donate here.”
· Use personal pronouns. Use pronouns like “I,” “you,” and “we” as much as possible. Make use of the personal pronoun “you” often since you’re addressing your reader as an individual. Here’s an example. Let’s say you are addressing young entrepreneurs in your writing and make a statement like, “Often, most young entrepreneurs find it difficult to move on after an economic crisis” well, you could make your statement more compelling by involving your reader in the sentence:
“As a young entrepreneur, you might find it difficult moving forward after a recession” also using words like “might” or “probably” qualifies your statement, so you don’t sound like you’re preaching or lecturing. Depending on the context, you might want to include yourself along with the audience in the sentence by using the pronoun “we.”
· Use active sentences in your writing. Using active sentences in your writing makes your writing easier and engages your reader. If you want to write a marketing article or post, make sure to use active sentences for marketing your business or company. The active voice makes your writing concise, and you’re more likely to hold your reader’s attention. The active voice in your writing creates authority and puts the writer in control, unlike the passive voice.
For instance, instead of saying, “You can count on efficient, affordable, and reliable services delivered by us,” you could say, “We deliver efficient and affordable services you can count on us.” Do you see that the latter statement makes the writer sound in control? It focuses on what the company can offer its clients.
. Engage your readers with questions. How chatty do you want your writing tone to be?
Do you wan to engage your readers in your writing? Then add some questions to your write up. Questions make your readers reflective, it can even boost your persuasiveness. Adding or posing some questions in your writing makes your readers process your message intensely. They are a powerful technique to engage and persuade readers.
Using question in your writing makes it more conversational. However, don’t make your readers feel interrogated with your questions, use simple rhetorical questions that require a simple “yes or no” answer. For example, if you are writing a recipe post, you can simply ask “Have you ever tried a ginger cookie in your coffee?”
. Keep it simple. Do you try to impress your readers by using jargon? To keep it simple, use the words you’ll normally use in your everyday life. Writing conversationally means you have to skip the jargon and make your content-specific. Use simple, direct, and everyday language as you write to engage your audience. Chop off every long sentence and annihilate any arduous word to keep your writing simple.
Using jargon when writing a newsletter to your customers can mislead your customers into believing that they are being talked down to or purposefully confused. Instead of saying, “If you could just touch base with our customer service manager after the meeting, that would be great.” You could just say, “It will be great if you talk with our customer service manager after the meeting.”
. Provide incidence. Make sure to include valuable anecdotes in a way you would tell a friend. Sharing stories in your writing helps connect with your readers and show them their writer isn’t a unidimensional being. Human brains love stories, and when you start your writing with a story, you can trigger an emotional response from your readers. Show your readers how the story can apply to their own lives.
- Use contractions. Why not make your writing look real as a human being having a two-way conversation and not like a piece of an academic project or some sort of formal writing? Can you really communicate in your everyday life without using contractions? If you want to make your writing look conversational, make good use of contractions like “you’re, I’ll,” etc., for instance, instead of saying I am going to the gym. You could probably say I’m going to the gym.
- Inject your personality. Revealing your personality triggers your readers to be more curious and pay attention. You can tell your readers how you got to where you are, share with your readers some of your mistakes or wrong investment decisions you made, and probably why you choose that kind of business. They’ll want to know about you so, make your audience feel like they’re in your fold.
- Read it aloud. One of the tips to evaluate how conversational your writing is is by reading it aloud. If you can write as though you were conversing with a friend, it will naturally come across as conversational.
6. How to apply conversational writing style to email marketing:
If you can’t write a great subject line that is catchy, then you’ll never get your audience to open your campaign. If you want outstanding returns on your emails, you need to add conversational marketing as part of your strategy for clients to quickly click-through and purchase your product or service. Read on to learn how to apply a conversational tone to your next email campaign.
· Write a short, focused subject line. The subject line is an important element in the inbox when it comes to driving opens. The subject line is formatted with darker, heavier text in most devices to make it stand out, among other details in the email. Considering its pre-eminence in the inbox, it’s evident that it will have a significant effect on the open rates. So how should you optimize your subject line to make it conversational? It is advisable to keep your subject line brief, even 30 characters or less, to ensure they appear in full on mobile devices and desktop. Consider using proven power words.
· Write an impelling pre-header text. It is the short summary text that follows a subject line when an inbox is viewed.
· Focus on your subscribers. Your potential clients are not interested in your company. They are only interested to know how your product or service can benefit them. Focus on the needs of your subscribers. Think about your audience, analyze their likes and dislikes and coin your message to be customer-centric. Don’t forget to use the pronoun “you” instead of the third person.
· Pose questions in your email. Posing relevant questions engages your audience and makes your work valuable questioning is a useful way to sound real and conversational. Posing the right questions catches your reader’s attention to slow down for a while and think about the topic of your email. You could also follow up your questions with answers right away to guide your audience towards your call to action.
Here is a great example: Do you ever feel bored at work? I know I do. Work can be boring sometimes, especially if you own a lone business. However, there is good news; it’s about finding a community.
· Offer valuable gifts. Do you know anyone who doesn’t like gifts? Me neither. Offer your subscribers some downloaded content such as e-books. Discounts too are a great way to offer some rewards to your clients. This is a persuasive way to get your recipients to open your emails.
· Write persuasively and clearly. Sounding like an expert has its pros and cons. On the one hand, you know you have adept knowledge about a certain topic. On the other, it may sound too complicated for a reader to understand.
Try as much as possible to keep the language clear and simple. Conversational writing is professional just write persuasively and clearly.